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If You're Pulled Over for DWI in Texas

27th November 2009
By Calico Blonde in Legal
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First and foremost, if you have a frame on your license plate of any kind, whether it is for the UT Longhorns or from your fancy car dealership, you need to take it off today. There is a relatively new law that makes obscuring any part of the license plate illegal, and it is a valid reason to pull you over.

Pay your traffic tickets so that there are no municipal court or Justice of the Peace court warrants out in your name. Also make sure that you have your current insurance card, and that your inspection and registration stickers are current.

If you have a head light, brake light, or turn signal light out, fix them today. You will absolutely end up arrested for DWI for any of these things.

If you've had even a single drink, make full stops at stop signs, especially close to home because people are arrested within a mile of their houses all of the time. When you are making a right turn, keep it curb to curb. Wide turns signal of DWI to officers. Do not spin your wheels accelerating from a stop. Do not speed.

Do not talk on your phone, look for a CD, play with your ipod, dig through your purse, or change the radio station while driving if you've had even one drink in the last hour. The officer will see your tires touch the white lane line, pull you over for failure to maintain a single lane, and smell alcohol on your breath.

If you are pulled over and the officer starts asking how much you've had to drink, where have you been, what did you have for dinner and when did you eat, do not play Mr. Nice Guy and try to answer his questions helpfully. He is not your buddy. He is collecting evidence against you. The only questions you should ask are 1) are you writing me a ticket? (if so, take your ticket, keep your mouth closed, and get out of there) and 2) am I free to leave?

Do not ever admit to drinking. If you say you've had two drinks, the officer will testify at your trial that everyone always says they've only had two drinks. You're going downtown.

If he asks you to step out of the car, he is watching to see if you lean on your door for balance. Do not submit to any roadside field sobriety tests. Do not let him try to test your eyes with a pen light. Do not perform the walk-and-turn test. Do not stand on one leg counting to 30. Do not recite your ABCs. He does not have the right to make you do these things and he has no intention of letting you go home if you do well on the tests. Except for the ABCs, they are designed for failure.

If he will not write you a ticket and let you go, you have to accept the fact that you are being arrested for DWI and make your peace with it. Be polite and respectful at all times, but do not perform any tests.

You can say, "With all due respect, officer, I have eye problems and don't want to do your pen light test." And, "With all due respect officer, I have old knee injuries and do not want to do your balance tests." It is not against any law to lie about old injuries that may or may not be acting up at the moment.

He will read you your rights and ask you to submit to a breath test. Be polite, but refuse. The only difference in punishment in Texas for refusing a breath test is a 180 day suspension instead of a 90 day suspension for cooperating. The difference isn't a very big deal; you can get an occupational license if this is your first DWI arrest and be just fine. Sign the piece of paper saying you are refusing.

Back at the station they may do the whole thing again-- asking for the eye test, the balance tests, the breath test. Stand your ground and refuse. Be polite and speak very clearly because if you weren't on camera before, you are now. They may say they'll let you go if you blow below the legal limit. They are lying.

Under no circumstances should you write a statement for them and sign it. Do not make conversation, do not plead, and do not ask them for any favors. Hire a lawyer when you're out in the morning, and let her sort it out. You've done your best by not providing the police and prosecutor's office with evidence against you. Make sure you file a request with the Department of Public Safety for your ALR hearing to fight your license suspension within 15 days and show up for all of your court dates on time.
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